Hearing a contempt of court petition, the Telangana High Court, on Monday, 25 September, directed the principal of Kakatiya Medical College (KMC) to comply with its 11 September order and allow PG medical student Dr MA Saif Ali to rejoin the course.
On 20 September, Principal Dr Divvela Mohandas had allegedly demanded to see the original court order before allowing Dr Saif to rejoin KMC.
To recap, Dr Saif was arrested and suspended earlier for allegedly abetting the suicide of a junior student, Dr Dharavath Preethi — a first-year postgraduate student — who died on 26 February after allegedly attempting suicide.
“Saif will be rejoining the college after lunch today. Now, we have to see whether the college will admit him or not,” his lawyer Srikanth Chintala told South First.
Contempt of court
A contempt of court case was filed against KMC Principal Mohandas in the Telangana High Court on 22 September for not allowing Saif to rejoin the institution.
On 11 September, the high court had set aside the suspension of Dr MA Saif Ali. His counsel moved the contempt of court petition after the college refused to allow him to rejoin the course.
Chintala had said that his client first went to the college on 13 September but the “contemnor” (Principal) denied him permission, stating that he had not received a copy of the court’s order.
“My client again approached the Principal on 20 September, along with the online judgement copy, which was uploaded on the high court’s website on 19 September. But the Principal, once again, deliberately denied him permission to rejoin and said that he should receive the original order from the court directly,” Chintala told South First earlier.
He noted that Dr Saif also informed the Principal that the government pleader concerned was present in the court when the judge pronounced the order, setting aside this suspension. “The judge had read the operative portion of the order in open court, in the presence of standing counsels representing the KMC,” the lawyer stated.
He alleged that the Principal also threatened Dr Saif, stating that he would not be allowed to rejoin irrespective of the number of court orders he might get in his favour.
Acknowledging that he sought the original order from Dr Saif, Principal Mohandas had told South First earlier that a decision would made based on the advice of the government pleader. “The process is already on, but we have not received the original copy so far.”
‘Online order deemed certified’
Chintala said that the principal was demanding a stamped and signed order. “But these are deliberate actions and there is no meaning to it,” he retorted.
The advocate said that judges take time to sign original orders and provide an official copy. Hence, the copies are uploaded onto the website.
“Sometimes the judges are overburdened with several cases. So it is not practically possible for a single judge to scrutinise every line, pass orders, and sign them every day. The physical copy of the order, in this case, is expected to come in a week or 10 days,” Chintala said.
He added that there was a previous high court order stating that government officials cannot insist on an official certified copy.
“They were asked to verify the orders on the website. Even during the bail order by a district court, the police used to refuse, saying that the orders were not certified. But a few years ago, the high court directed all officials and the lower courts to verify if an order was uploaded on the high court website. And if it is available on the court website, then it is deemed certified,” claimed Chintala, adding that Mohandas could not be ignorant of the court’s order.
“Does he not have a duty to verify by contacting the government pleader and check whether he has to comply with the high court order or not?” he asked.
Issuing a show cause notice to Dr Mohanas, Justice Surepalli Nanda will now take up the contempt of court hearing on 6 October.
In his petition filed in the high court seeking revocation of his suspension, Saif said that KMC extended his suspension on 9 June without allowing him an opportunity to present his side, which went against Regulation 23 of the National Medical Commission rules.
The college also ignored Dr Saif’s representations dated 28 April, 23 May, and 2 June, which contended that his suspension was illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional, and against the principles of natural justice.
Saif petitioned that he had been falsely implicated in the case of the alleged suicide of Dr Preethi. He claimed that the KMC ragging committee’s findings were biased as he was not allowed to participate in the proceedings or defend himself.
Saif also asserted that the committee’s conclusions were one-sided, vague, false, and in violation of the governing regulations.
“The alleged findings of the ragging committee in its inquiry report are against the principles of natural justice, perverse, contrary to the facts and evidence, and unsustainable in the eye of the law solely on the grounds of being violative of the principles of natural justice, as the petitioner was neither made a party to such proceedings nor given a chance to be heard,” Saif’s petition said.